Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents have again attacked Dapchi community in Yobe state shooting sporadically.
A Dapchi resident solely known as Garba told Channels Television that the security personnel stationed in the community engaged the gunmen while he was fleeing into the bush for safety.
Garba who is a mechanic further explained that the attackers carted away food palliatives brought into the palace of the District Head by State Emergency Management Agency and later set the palace ablaze.
The Police Public Relation Officer in the state, ASP Abdulkarim Dungus confirmed the incident but said the number of casualties are still sketchy as means of communications have been tempered with making contacts very difficult .
Efforts to speak with the Acting Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Lieutenant Chinonso Oteh proved abortive as he could not be reached on the phone.
Dapchi, a town about 100 kilometers from Damaturu the state capital was last attacked on March 5, 2020 in which seven mobile police officers were killed and also an armored vehicle burnt down.
At least eight mobile policemen have been killed in Wednesday’s Boko Haram attack on Dapchi town in Yobe State.
Channels Television confirmed this on Thursday during a visit to the town, the headquarters of Bursari Local Government Area of the state.
The Acting Assistant Director of Army Public Relations of Sector 2, Operation Lafiya Dole, Lieutenant Chinonso Oteh, as well as the Police Public Relations Officer in Yobe, Dungus Abdulkarim, have confirmed the attack.
Both men were, however, unable to give details of the casualties in the incident.
The insurgents were said to have invaded the town in what appeared to be an attack targeted at security formations in Dapchi.
They attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters and the Nigerian Army formation in the town, while one police armoured vehicle was set ablaze.
According to local sources, they came to Dapchi, about 100 kilometres from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, through neighbouring Jumbam village.
Speaking in an interview with Channels Television, the residents called on the Federal Government to take up proactive measures in curtailing the incessant attacks on their community.
The Executive Secretary of the Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Mohammed Goje, who visited the scene of the attack sympathised with the people of the town.
The attack comes two weeks after some insurgents stormed the town and set ablaze the telecommunication network facility in Dapchi.
See more photos from the scene of the attack below:
Some suspected Boko Haram members have attacked Dapchi town, the headquarters of Bursari Local Government Area of Yobe State.
The insurgents carried out the attack on Wednesday evening in Dapchi, about 100 kilometres from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.
Local sources told Channels Television that the attackers came to the town where Leah Sharibu and about 100 students of Government Girls Science Technical College were abducted in February 2018, through neighbouring Jumbam village.
The insurgents were said to have invaded the town and set some residential houses and government structures on fire.
When contacted, the acting Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, Sector 2 of Operation Lafiya Dole, Lieutenant Chinonso Oteh, said the details of the incident were unclear.
He, however, promised to give an update as well as the causality figure if there was any.
The attack comes two weeks after some insurgents stormed the town and set ablaze the telecommunication network facility in Dapchi.
A religious group, Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians (CNNC) has asked the Federal Government to ensure the release of abducted Dapchi schoolgirl in Yobe state, Leah Sharibu, before Christmas.
The group said the release of Ms. Sharibu will be the best gift they will receive during the Yuletide.
The request was made during a meeting of the association in Kaduna state which drew members from the 19 northern States and the Federal Capital Territory.
Convener of the meeting, Professor Adamu Baikie lamented that after failing to release Ms Sharibu along with her schoolmates who were kidnapped in their secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February the 19th, 2018, nothing much has been heard about her whereabouts or even efforts being made by Security agencies to secure her release.
“Who is it that has not been saying that the government should do the needful? Maybe the government needs to be told what the needful is. The needful is to get this girl out, but they are the only ones who have the means to do so.
“We cannot but depend on divine protection and God answering our prayers. If we are in a position to do something, we would have done more than what we have done. The situation is not beyond us, but to execute what we can do is beyond us.
“We have not relented in praying for her and praying for justice to be done,” he added.
Also, a Christian leader from Borno state, Reverend Toma Ragijinya, while lamenting the devastating condition of residents of Internally Displaced Persons in the state as a result of the Boko Haram attacks, said the church will continue to pray and sustain advocacies that will compel responses from government for the release of Ms. Sharibu who has spent over one year in captivity.
“What I will appeal to the government is that they have the capacity to do more than that to release this young girl. So we appeal that before the end of this year, before Christmas, let Leah Sharibu be released.
“We are praying and appealing that all those in authority should make sure that this girl is released and all Nigerians will celebrate her release.”
The group also urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the deplorable roads across the country, which they pointed out also contribute to the spate of insecurity in the country.
They specifically urged the government to reactivate the old rail lines as an alternative means of transportation, instead of waiting when it will complete the new standard gauges that are capital intensive.
When suspected herdsmen attacked parts of Benue and killed 73 persons on New Year’s day in 2018, sparking outrage, few expected that killings would become some sort of sordid soundtrack to the year.
However, not only did killings continue and spread to different parts of the country, several other issues emerged during the year that led to questions around the security architecture of the country.
With the year now confined to history, we look at some of the major security issues the country grappled with.
An Orgy of Killings
On the 1st and 2nd of January, 2018, people believed to be herdsmen attacked communities in Benue State, killing 73 and leaving several others injured.
The slaughter led to allegations and counter allegations with some accusing herders of pursuing an expansionist agenda, while herders claimed they were being unfairly targetted.
As the killings spread to other parts of Benue and other states, Benue and Taraba all enacted anti-grazing laws which led to further contention and disputes.
In all, the killings in Benue seemed to have paved the way for the more carnage with similar-style attacks in Taraba, Pleateau, and Kaduna.
Zamfara witnessed a killing spree, albeit with a different coloration. The bloodshed is believed to be the result of the activities of bandits, cattle rustlers, illegal miners and more.
Between January 2016 and October 2018, clashes between herders and farmers have led to the death of at least 3,641 people according to Amnesty International, with 57 percent of the deaths occurring in 2018 alone.
Dapchi Girls Kidnap
The nation had barely come to terms with the killings in Benue and the fallout before news broke on February 19 regarding yet another horrific incident far away in Dapchi, Yobe State.
This time the sour tale was the abduction by Boko Haram of about 110 girls aged between the ages of 11 and 19 years, a very bitter reminder of the outrageous Chibok abduction of 2014.
Initially thought to be an attack aimed at food items and fuel, the realisation that more than 100 girls had been snatched from their school generated a lot of anger and questioned.
This was aggravated by the complaint of Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam that troops had been withdrawn from the area without informing either the police authorities or the state government in advance.
A shocked nation, distraught parents and the traumatised girls, however, when on 21 March, 104 of the girls were released by the terrorists.
But it was a bittersweet development with no closure as five of the schoolgirls died and one – the only Christian among them was held back reportedly for refusing to convert to Islam.
Her freedom remains a major issue and calls continue to come from across the world for her release.
Offa Robbery and the roar of bandits
Emerging security threats did not stop regular criminals from operating in 2018 and the deadly Offa bank robbery of April 4 was proof of that.
It wasn’t just another robbery, however. The level of ruthlessness the robbers unleashed on Offa Local Government Area of Kwara on that day was considered unprecedented by many.
The robbers hit four banks with dynamites and bullets. By the time they were done and gone, over 33 persons including nine police officers had been killed.
So far, the police have announced the arrest of five key suspects. The alleged leader of the group that stormed the banks has, however, died in custody, according to the police. The case is still being heard in the courts.
The robbery is arguably at the top of the pyramid of other criminal acts and the level of banditry in the country this year. Talking about bandits, they operated in several places – along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, in Zamfara, in camps in Benue and more.
Shiites Vs Army/Police
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise known as Shiites has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army since 2015 when its leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky was injured and taken into custody after members clashed with the Army.
His continued detention has led to a series of protests. Prior to 2018, the protests had taken place mainly in Kaduna (where the group has been banned) and Kano.
In the course of the year, the Shiites took the protest to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory. The result? Clashes with security operatives and the police resulting in the loss of lives.
During one of the protests in May, the protesting IMN members clashed with the police, smashing vehicles.
Months later, on October 29, during another attempt to protest in Abuja, they had a run in with the military along the Nyanya-Keffi highway – on the outskirts of the nation’s capital.
According to the group, the military killed up to 50 of its members in the altercation. But the military said only three members of the group were killed that day and that the soldiers acted in self-defense.
The Shiites have said they will not stop their protests until the freedom of their incarcerated leader is secured.
More Rights Violation Allegations Against The Military
The year 2018, the operations of the military came under the spotlight with Amnesty International accusing the Nigeria military of infringing on the rights of different individuals, in the course of their executing their duties.
In a report in December, the group accused some military personnel of constantly used lethal force wrongly against innocent citizens.
Whiles accusing the government of negligence, A.I urged the government to investigate its claims and bring those found guilty to justice.
The Army said Amnesty International is working solely to destabilize the government, adding that it would make a case for the international rights group to leave Nigeria if they continue with their mode of operation.
Earlier, in March, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant, General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), accused the Nigerian Armed Forces of complicity in the killings in Taraba, Benue, and other “riverine states” in the country.
Danjuma’s allegation, during Taraba State University’s convocation in Jalingo, came at the peak of the killings and in reaction to the resultant military operations in Taraba and Benue as a result of the bloodshed.
His allegations were denied by the military.
The onslaught on Aid Workers
The country’s security challenges during the year did not spare aid workers. On March 1, Boko Haram terrorists attacked an internally displaced persons’ camp in Rann, Borno State, killing three of them and abducting three others.
Not only did the terrorists ignore calls, including from the United Nation, for their release, it shocked the world by executing two of the three abducted aid workers later in the year.
Both of them worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Saifura Ahmed was executed in September and despite pleas by the ICRC, UN, and others for the remaining women to be spared, Hauwa Liman was executed in October.
The attack and killings added another dimension to Nigeria’s war against terror and the safety of aid workers who have helped to provide relief for the millions displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Also in 2018, the relationship between the Nigerian Army some global agencies and charities operating in the North-East, especially UNICEF, turned sour.
In December, the army announced the suspension of the operations of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North-East.
In a statement by its Deputy Director of Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, accused the agency of abandoning its primary humanitarian role in the region.
He said, “This has become inevitable since the organization has abdicated its primary duty of catering for the wellbeing of children and the vulnerable through humanitarian activities and now engaged in training selected persons for clandestine activities to continue sabotaging the counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency efforts of troops through spurious and unconfirmed allegations bothering on alleged violations of human rights by the military.”
The move attracted criticism with Amnesty International describing it as an act of intimidation.
The Mysterious Murder Of General Alkali:
In September, troops of the3 Division of the Nigerian army embarked on a search and rescue operation for Major General Idris Alkali, who went missing on September 3.
Many would have thought the army did not have to search too far before they would pick up the retired General’s trail and rescue him.
However, the case did not play out as one would have excepted, the trail lingered too long, casting a cloud of uncertainty over the General’s safety.
In the course of the military investigation, a major discovery was made which caused many to question the safety of travelers within Nigeria.
The army found the retired General’s car in a pond at Doi Du community in Jos. It was believed that residents conspired to overpower and kill the retired military officer.
Two other vehicles; one which was reported missing with the driver on 24 June 2018 and the other red which was reportedly buried along with its occupants on the 31st of January, 2013.
These discoveries raised red flags around the nation as regards the many who have gone missing without a trace and how much effort was put into trying to find them.
The General’s remains were discovered in Guchwet in Shen of Jos South LGA of Plateau State, sadly, some of the major suspects were never apprehended.
As if this incident was not enough to stir panic in the heart of those traveling within the country, a few weeks later the death of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh was announced.
Badeh was gunned down by unknown gunmen, and his aide was kidnapped, further raising questions as to the issue of insecurity in Nigeria.
The late General’s aide was later released and some suspects were arrested.
One of the most troubling development as regards security in 2018, is the upsurge in attacks by Boko Haram, especially in the latter part of the year.
Though the army continues to assure Nigerians that the terror group has been utterly decimated, still the jihadists continue to strike and wreak havoc.
A recent attack on three military bases in Metele, Borno State, has forced many to reconsider statements by the army considering the state of affairs within the North East.
There have been reports that the terrorists had taken over some towns in Borno state, causing residents to flee to neighboring towns.
The army, however, has denied the claims saying the towns in question are still under the control of the military, urging Nigerians to be calm.
In conclusion, let it be known that this review does not in any way seek to undermine the efforts of our security personnel in keeping the nation at peace, however, it has been written in a bid to spur operatives towards more gallant strides.
Beyond herdsmen crisis and the insurgency, there are still cases of smuggling and contrabands coming in from porous borders, there are also issues of human trafficking that go unchecked.
As the nation heads to the polls in 2019 and the hope is that the citizenry is better protected than in the previous year, for if 2018 had a soundtrack when it came to security challenges, it might as well be titled ‘Killing Fields’.
The mother of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Dapchi schoolgirl in captivity, has once again appealed to the Federal Government to meet the demands of her abductors and secure her release.
Rebecca Sharibu made the appeal during a news conference in Jos on Saturday, seven months after Leah was abducted.
In an emotional interaction with journalists, Leah’s mother who spoke in Hausa, said the appeal was urgent as Boko Haram had threatened to kill Leah if the group’s demands are not met.
“She pleaded with the President, the Vice President, the Secretary to the Federal Government to, please, do whatever they can to ensure that Leah is released,” Dr Gloria Samdi, an activist said after the heartbroken mother spoke.
Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, also called in and appealed to the government to act urgently as time is running out for his daughter.
He rejected having any connection with any court case against the Federal Government seeking compensation over the abduction of Leah.
The Convener, Citizens Monitoring Group, Reverend Gideon Para Mallam, called on the Federal Government to listen to the plea by Leah’s parents and take concrete steps to free her.
Leah Sharibu was one of the over 100 schoolgirls abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi, Adamawa State, on February 19, 2018.
Although the other girls have been freed, she has been held back reportedly for refusing to denounce her religion – Christianity.
There have been calls from across the world for her release.
Earlier this month,the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram holding Leah captive, killed Saifura Ahmed, one of the three humanitarian workers abducted in Rann, Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State.
Ahmed had been abducted along with two other aid workers in March.
Online news website The Cable reported that the terrorists threatened to kill Leah and the other aid workers in a month if the government does not meet their demands.
They claimed that they had contacted the government without getting a response.
“I am Leah Sharibu, the girl that was abducted in GGSS Dapchi. I am calling on the government, particularly, the President to pity me and get me out of this serious situation,” she said in Hausa.
The schoolgirl added, “I also plead to the members of the public to help my mother, my father, my younger brother and relatives. Kindly help me out of my predicament.
“I am calling on the government and people of goodwill to intervene to get me out of my current situation. I am begging you to treat me with compassion. Thank you.”
Leah, one of the over 100 schoolgirls abducted in February from the Government Girls Secondary School, Dapchi in Yobe State, was kept in captivity by the terrorists reportedly for refusing to renounce Christianity.
She was the only Christian among the girls.
Following the abduction, the Federal Government said it was going with the option of negotiation to ensure the Dapchi girls regain their freedom rather than the use of military force.
This led to the release of the girls (except Leah) who were brought back to the community by the terrorists in March after spending four weeks in captivity.
But Leah’s continued stay in the terrorists’ captivity sparked a widespread criticism, although the government said it was making efforts to ensure her safe return.
Contrary to the claims that no money was paid for the release of the other Dapchi schoolgirls, the United Nations said they were returned “in exchange for a large ransom payment.”
A report released by the UN in mid-August also accused some non-governmental organisations of sending funds to Boko Haram and other local terrorist groups in the West African region.
The school authorities of Government Girls Science and Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi in Yobe State have appealed to parents not to be discouraged but allow their children resume academic activities.
This is just as the school witness poor attendance on resumption day with some parents refusal to send their children back to the school.
The School Principal, Adama Abdulkareem, urged the parents to bring their wards to school noting that school the government has tried by improving security.
“The government has already tried. School has opened. So I am calling on the parents, they should not be discouraged by anything that has happened. They should bring their children.
“Education is compulsory and important. Children are the leaders of tomorrow and we cannot have leaders that are not educated,” she said.
Over 100 schoolgirls were abducted from the school on February 19, 2018 but they were later released by the insurgents, while Leah Sharibu remains in the hands of the abductors.
Some parents however insist that they will not allow their children return to the school until they see adequate security in place.
“There is no security there. Nobody will sacrifice his or daughter and send to that school. Even those writing their Senior Secondary School (SSS) Three exams at Guru. Some are jumping through the walls and escaping to their houses,” one of the parents told Channels Television.
However, final year students were seen writing the NAPTEP examinations, as well as academic and non-academic staff were seen on the premises.
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls, and others in Boko Haram captivity.
The president made the request in his Easter message to Nigerians on Thursday, one month and 10 days after the terrorists who abducted schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, snatched 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.
Five of the Dapchi girls had died in captivity, 104 of them were freed on March 21 and reunited with their parents on Sunday. However, the terrorists held one, Leah Sharibu, back; allegedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
Her fate has remained a source of worry with many calling for her release.
President Buhari is thankful for the release of Leah’s schoolmates and is hopeful that all those still in captivity would also regain their freedom. He, however, believes the prayers of Nigerians would help.
“I am very optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity, will be safely released unconditionally to their families. I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return,” he said in a statement.
The abduction of the schoolgirls had raised concerns about the safety of schools, especially in the North East which is the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.
To ensure such an incident does not occur again, the President said security agencies have been given directives to protect schools.
“I have given clear instructions to our security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where the humanitarian and security situation are still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),” President Buhari said.
With the 2019 elections less than a year away, President Buhari also used his Easter message to call on politicians to be law abiding.
He said, “As we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.
“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.
“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong. I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.”
The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the Dapchi has assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring the quick release of the remaining schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who still held hostage by the Boko Haram.
Addressing journalists on Thursday in Dapchi after meeting with stakeholders with a view to forestalling future occurrence the committee chairman Hon Yusuf Buba also calls on the people of Dapchi to ensure the Girl-child education does not suffer despite the activities of the insurgents to cripple education in the northeast.
The 12 man committee set up by the House while in Dapchi had interaction with the parents, teachers, the traditional leader of the area as well as security personnel, local government authorities among others.
The stakeholders were given the opportunity to make their submissions, observations and recommendation on the whole scenario.
After the meetings, the committee Chairman Hon Yusuf Buba assured the people of Dapchi that the present administration is working towards the return of Leah Sharibu and task them never to allow Girl-Child education suffer as a result of the abduction saga.
Earlier the committee had called on the state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, that their mission is to visit the state to commiserate with the parents and teachers of the students and to verify the remote and the immediate causes of the abduction with a view to forestalling future occurrences.
The committee according to him will not witch-hunt anyone but to work towards tackling any case of school abduction in the future.
The state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, represented by his deputy Abubakar Aliyu, commended the House of Representatives for setting up the committee and called on the Federal Government to work hard towards ending the insurgency which has greatly underdeveloped the northeast region.
He commended security operatives and the radicalization programme of the federal government which is aim at rehabilitating the repented terrorists.